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Elections could plunge Zim into chaos: UN

by Charles Tembo Tuesday 02 June 2009

HARARE - Fresh elections expected in 24 months time could plunge Zimbabwe
back into political turmoil and violence as the country's political parties
compete for power, the United Nations (UN) said Monday.

A power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and former
opposition leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara has eased
political tensions in Zimbabwe and allowed the African country to begin work
to rebuild the economy.

But Tsvangirai - Prime Minister of the unity government - last Sunday gave a
depressing description of the administration that has been in office for
more than three months now, saying it had not been able to fully enforce the
rule of law and that political intimidation and rights abuses continued in

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
yesterday said the situation could deteriorate further once a new election
is called and the three rival parties in the unity government begin
contesting for power.

"Politically, general elections expected in 24 months may result in internal
competition and renewed violence and human rights abuses as the parties to
the inclusive government try gaining popularity by discrediting their
rivals," said OCHA, while announcing a revised US$718 million consolidated
appeal for humanitarian support for Zimbabwe.

The OCHA echoed Tsvangirai's bleak summary of the situation in Zimbabwe,
noting that the unity government had neither compensated victims of past
political violence nor punished the perpetrators, in the process creating a
culture of impunity.

The UN humanitarian arm said in some cases aggrieved parties have taken the
law into their hands, particularly in rural areas where there had been
reports of retributive violence.

"There continues to be reports of retributive violence, mainly in rural
areas, particularly where attempts at reconciliation through traditional
forms of justice have failed," said OCHA.

The UN organ also noted continuing and disturbing "instances of abuse of
police powers such as arrest and political interference with the work of the
Attorney General's Office".

It added: "Recent months have seen a number of politically-motivated
abductions and related abuse of court process by state officers, invoking
powers for further detention without lawful grounds."

The views expressed by OCHA in the main appeared to dovetail with Tsvangirai's
assessment of the unity government's performance to date.

However, a senior official of the Harare administration disputed some of the
humanitarian organ's assertions and challenged it to back up its claims with
evidence, according to UN humanitarian coordinator in Harare, Agostinho

Zacarias said Regional Integration and International Co-operation minister
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga had written his office to raise Harare's
objection to some of the points and views raised in the appeal for
humanitarian support.

"The government of Zimbabwe feels that there are some assertions in the
document that have not been accurately presented and/or substantiated . . .
for the record the government of Zimbabwe disassociates itself from the
unsubstantiated assertions until such a time that they are substantiated,"
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said in the letter.

The Zimbabwean minister challenged the OCHA to provide proof to back up its
claims that there were at least 215 000 mobile and vulnerable persons and
about 36 000 victims of political violence and internally displaced persons
in the country who were being assisted by humanitarian organisations.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga also said OCHA should submit evidence of retributive
violence mentioned in its humanitarian aid appeal document.

Under the power-sharing agreement between Zimbabwe's three largest political
parties, the country will draft a new and democratic constitution over the
next 18 to 24 months after which fresh presidential, parliamentary and local
council elections will be held.

The new constitution is expected to ensure the new elections are free and
fair without the blood and violence that has accompanied Zimbabwe's every
election since the emergency of Tsvangirai and the MDC as the biggest threat
to Mugabe and his ZANU PF's stranglehold on power. - ZimOnline

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Tsvangirai to visit Europe, US

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 02 June 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will this month visit
Europe and the United States of America to meet top government officials
there as his unity government with President Robert Mugabe struggles to
raise direct financial support form Western donor governments.

Tsvangirai is expected to leave the country headed for France on June 24 and
from there he will visit Belgium, the US and some Scandinavian countries in
his first trip outside the region since being sworn in as the country's
Prime Minister on February 13.

During the trip, Tsvangirai is expected to appeal to Western nations to
increase humanitarian support to Zimbabwe and to consider direct assistance
to the Harare administration.

Tsvangirai will meet senior government officials as well as private business
leaders during his tour, but it was not immediately clear if he would meet
heads of state and government such as US President Barack Obama or France
President Nicholas Sarkozy.

Tsvangirai, Mugabe, and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the leaders
of Zimbabwe's three main political parties, agreed to form a unity
government under a power-sharing deal brokered last year by former South
African President Thabo Mbeki on behalf of the regional Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC).

The coalition government is seen as offering Zimbabwe the best opportunity
in a decade to restore stability and end a devastating economic and
humanitarian crisis that had seen the once prosperous country suffer rampant
inflation, acute food shortages affecting more than half of the country's
population, record unemployment and deepening poverty.

But the success of the Harare administration hinges on its ability to raise
financial support from rich Western countries that have however said they
will not immediately help until they are convinced Mugabe is committed to
genuinely share power with his former opposition foes.

Tsvangirai at the weekend repeated calls on Western countries to assist
Zimbabwe's unity government arguing that continuing withholding direct
financial support could weaken those working for transformation in the
Africa country while strengthening the hand of hardliners opposed to
democratic change.

"My advice is for the international community to engage Zimbabwe as the
opposite of this will only benefit hardliners," Tsvangirai told a visiting
French minister, Anne-Marie Idrac. Anne-Marie Idrac is France's Minister of
State for Foreign Trade.

Zimbabwe's new government has appealed for US$8.5 billion it says it wants
to fund reconstruction of the economy and to restore basic services such as
health and education.

The Harare administration has raised only US$1 billion in credit lines from
African countries and institutions, while the US and its Western allies
insist on comprehensive political and economic reforms first before they can
pour in aid to Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwean nightmare of neglect continues in South Africa
June 02,2009

MSF launches new report: “No Refuge, Access Denied: Medical and Humanitarian Needs of Zimbabweans in South Africa”.

MSF is calling on the government of South Africa and United Nations (UN) agencies to urgently address the specific humanitarian needs of vulnerable Zimbabweans falling through the cracks of South African society.

Download the report ...
Johannesburg/Brussels Violence, sexual abuse, harassment, appalling living conditions and a serious lack of access to essential healthcare define the desperate lives of thousands of Zimbabweans in South Africa today, warns the medical humanitarian aid agency, Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), at the launch of its new report, “No Refuge, Access Denied: Medical and Humanitarian Needs of Zimbabweans in South Africa” .

Recent developments in both Zimbabwe and South Africa have done little to alter the fact that scores of Zimbabweans continue to flee to South Africa as a matter of survival, nor to adequately improve the daily living conditions of Zimbabweans once they cross the border. †MSF is calling on the government of South Africa and United Nations (UN) agencies to urgently address the specific humanitarian needs of vulnerable Zimbabweans falling through the cracks of South African society.

“Every day, despite claims that Zimbabwe is ‘normalising’, thousands of Zimbabweans continue to cross the border into South Africa, fleeing economic meltdown, food insecurity, political turmoil, and the total collapse of their health system,” said Rachel Cohen, Head of Mission for MSF in South Africa. “Instead of finding the refuge they so desperately need, they endure intolerable suffering on their journey to and within South Africa.”

Since 2007, MSF has been providing basic primary health care, referral to secondary and specialised care, emergency medical treatment for victims of violence and epidemic outbreaks, and specific services for survivors of sexual violence, as well as unaccompanied minors. Each month, MSF medical teams perform between 4,000-5,000 consultations for Zimbabweans along the border in Musina and at a clinic in inner-city Johannesburg at the Central Methodist Church, a ‘safe haven’ for thousands of Zimbabweans.

“We see thousands of sick, wounded, psychologically scarred, and marginalised Zimbabweans in both Johannesburg and Musina every month. They come to us because they have nowhere else to turn,” said Dr Eric Goemaere, Medical Coordinator for MSF in South Africa.

“Many of those who reach us have chronic diseases, such as HIV and TB, and severe violence-related injuries, most often from rape and sexual assault experienced while crossing the border from Zimbabwe, but also in South Africa itself. Consultations in our Johannesburg clinic have almost tripled in the last year, a telling sign of the extent to which Zimbabweans are consistently denied access to even the most basic health care services necessary for their survival.”†

The South African Constitution guarantees access to health care and other essential services to all who live in the country – including refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants – regardless of legal status. But, in reality, Zimbabwean patients are rejected outright, or often charged exorbitant fees, subjected to long delays or inappropriate treatment, or prematurely discharged, placing health care out of reach for many.

“The stories of our patients are truly shocking,” said Bianca Tolboom, MSF Nurse and Project Coordinator in Johannesburg. “I’m talking about pregnant women, unconscious or critically ill patients, even a six-year-old girl who had been raped, who were all refused the medical care they urgently required. †It’s deplorable, it’s a breach of medical ethics and it’s a violation of their rights under the South African Constitution. This nightmare of neglect must end.”

MSF has been treating an increasing number of victims of sexual violence in Musina. †In April, more than half of those treated had survived gang rape and 70% had been raped under armed threat of a gun, knife or other weapon. †Another worrying trend is the number of unaccompanied children crossing the border alone. They then make their way to the Central Methodist Church, a journey of more than 500km, where as many as 4,000 Zimbabweans seek shelter each night - either dangerously packed into all available space inside the building, or sleeping on the pavement outside the church.

Currently, there are more than 150 unaccompanied children, between the ages of seven and 18 years, crammed into the Central Methodist Church. These children are extremely vulnerable and exposed to many forms of abuse in South Africa, yet no viable solution has been found to ensure they are properly assisted or protected.

“Each day, MSF teams witness the failure of the South African government primarily, but also of UN agencies, to meet the basic medical and humanitarian needs of vulnerable Zimbabweans,” continued Cohen. “The recent announcement by the South African Department of Home Affairs that a new system will be put in place to regularise the legal status of Zimbabweans in South Africa, and to stop their systematic deportation, is a welcome departure from the government’s previous policy of aggressive harassment, arrest, and deportation. However, these measures have yet to translate into tangible improvements in the lives of most Zimbabweans. Their only places of safety are under attack and they remain relegated to the shadows of society, forced to live in squalor and denied access to adequate assistance and protection.”

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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai to go to US to seek aid, "give reassurances"

Africa News
Jun 2, 2009, 17:32 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will travel in the
coming days to the United States to discuss his government's funding
difficulties and reassure the West of his commitment to bringing about human
rights reforms.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi on Tuesday confirmed the trip but
refused to specify its duration, saying the itinerary was still being

'The purpose of the trip is to re-engage the international world and to ask
it to support financially the inclusive government. The length of the trip
will depend on what comes up after finalizing it (the itinerary),' Maridadi

'Even when he leaves depends on what comes up after it has been finalised,'
said Maridadi.

Sources within Tsvangirai's office told the German Press Agency dpa that
Tsvangirai was also expected to travel to Europe after the US. The source
said France and Sweden, which takes over the rotating European Union
presidency next month, would likely be on the agenda of the trip.

The US trip would be Tsvangirai's first outside southern Africa since being
sworn in as prime minister on February 13.

'The PM is going to USA on Saturday and will spend about three weeks outside
the country,' one senior source who spoke on condition of anonymity said.

'The trip is aimed at convincing the West to pour money into Zimbabwe for
developmental projects,' the source said, adding: 'As you are aware, some
Western countries have not been happy about the way Mr Tsvangirai has
embraced (President Robert) Mugabe, who is hated by the West for running
down the country and for disregarding human rights.

'The trip is meant to justify why Tsvangirai has started to sound like he is
defending Mugabe's policies,' said the source.

In an interview with a South African newspaper on the occasion of his first
100 days in office, Tsvangirai downplayed ongoing human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe, referring to a renewed spate of white- owned land grabs as
'so-called farm invasions' that had been 'blown out of proportion'

He also downplayed the ongoing arrests of rights activists and members of
his Movement for Democratic Change, saying they were 'not political arrests'
but 'procedural matters.'

Tsvangirai led opposition to Mugabe for over a decade before agreeing last
year, despite defeating in a credible presidential vote, to accept the
lesser role of prime minister in a agreement brokered by the Southern Africa
Development Community.

The MDC leader is expected to appeal to Western nations to consider direct
assistance to the Harare administration.

The United Nations this week launched an appeal for 718 million dollars
towards Zimbabwe's health, food and education crises. More than 6 million
people, over half the population estimated at around 10 million, have
limited or no access to safe drinking water while more than 7 million people
rely on food aid.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, an MDC stalwart, says Zimbabwe needs over 8
billion dollars to turn around the economy, which Mugabe's previous populist
government left in tatters.

So far, however, Harare has raised only 1 billion dollars in credit lines
from mainly African countries and institutions. The US and other Western
powers are insisting on further political and economic reforms before
providing non-humanitarian aid.

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Farmers' hopes pinned on SADC Tribunal hearing Friday

By Alex Bell
02 June 2009

The hopes of the country's beleaguered farming community will be riding on
the outcome of a SADC Tribunal hearing on Friday, which is set to try to
force the unity government to respect an earlier SADC ruling, meant to
protect Zimbabwe's farmers.

Last November the human rights court ruled in favour of 75 Zimbabwean
commercial farmers, seeking an order to stop the government from
repossessing their farms under Robert Mugabe's so called land reform
programme. In it's ruling the Tribunal barred the government from further
repossessing white-owned farms, saying the applicants had been discriminated
against on the grounds of race. The ruling was meant to protect farmers from
future land invasions, with the government supposedly meant to ensure their
safety and the right to their land.

But the ruling has since been repeatedly violated, with farmers protected by
the SADC Tribunal judgement coming under attack as part of the renewed
offensive against the country's commercial farmers. Additionally a High
Court judge moved to nullify the SADC ruling earlier this year in a case
against a protected farmer, declaring that SADC orders had no legal place in
Zimbabwe's courts. Robert Mugabe, mere weeks later, declared the SADC ruling
null and void while condoning and encouraging more farm seizures.

Justice for Agriculture's John Worsley-Worswick on Tuesday said it is
'ridiculous' that the ruling was declared null and void, explaining that
Zimbabwe, as a signatory to the SADC Treaty, is legally bound to respect the
regional body's orders.

An increasing number of farm invasions and court prosecutions has been the
ultimate result of the nullification of the ruling, with more than 140
farmers facing trumped up charges of being on their land 'illegally'.
Physical land attacks have become increasingly violent, with invaders using
intimidation and violence to threaten farmers and their workers. More than
80 farms have been violently seized, many farmers remain in hiding,
thousands of farm workers have lost their jobs and, critically, no food is
being produced in a country crippled by food shortages.

The unity government meanwhile has done nothing to prevent or stop the
attacks that clearly violate the Global Political Agreement and are also
preventing crucial foreign investment in the country. Mugabe's support of
the invasions has been expected, but even Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
moved to play down the attacks recently, calling them 'isolated incidents'
that have been 'blown out of proportion'. The implementation order by the
SADC Tribunal is therefore a desperate measure to force the government to
stop the farm attacks.

Meanwhile the country's notoriously violent war veterans have warned of a
'year 2000' surge of land invasions, if the MDC continues with its campaign
to have central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes
Tomana removed from their positions. Leader of the Zimbabwe National
Liberation War Veterans Association, Joseph Chinotimba, told state media
last Friday his association would forcibly remove all the remaining white
farmers from their land if the MDC insists on Gono's and Tomana's removal.

Chinotimba told the ZBC that the source of the calls for the resignation of
Gono and Tomana are from 'whites', and that the war veterans would respond
"by ejecting all the white farmers who still remain in the farms."
Chinotimba continued that if the unity government "insists on Gono's
removal, we are determined to throw every white farmer off their farms and
install blacks in those farms."

"As war veterans, we are saying those whites whom we had allowed to remain
in the farms would leave with immediate effect - immediately!" Chinotimba
said. "We can only allow them to remain on condition that they drop the
issue of Gono and Tomana leaving their jobs."

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SADC will not convene full summit to discuss issues in GPA

By Tichaona Sibanda
2 June 2009

SADC will not convene a full, extraordinary summit, to tackle the
outstanding issues plaguing the coalition government, according to Tomaz
Salomao, the secretary-general of the regional bloc.

Salomao replied 'no no no, we will not convene a summit over that' in
response to questions from SW Radio Africa as to when SADC was going to
meet, as requested by the MDC to discuss the outstanding issues in the
Global Political Agreement. Salomao would not elaborate as to why SADC would
not convene a summit, or how the issue was going to be dealt with.

The MDC used a national conference over the weekend to call on the SADC to
convene an urgent, extraordinary summit to step in and resolve the
outstanding issues. They clearly feel that the issues are so serious that
they need to be handled by Heads of State at a full summit. MDC
secretary-general Tendai Biti last week Wednesday delivered the appeal
letter to Mlungisi Makhalima, South Africa's ambassador in Harare, for
onward transmission to the new SADC chairman and President of South Africa,
Jacob Zuma.

Salomao's pronouncement that SADC will not meet to discuss the issues, will
come as a surprise to the MDC who insist that since SADC and the African
Union are the guarantors to the deal, they should intervene and resolve the

Asked to confirm if he had received the letter from the MDC Salomao said he
had not, but would probably get it some time soon. But he indicated that he
was 'improper' for SADC to discuss individuals (such as the outstanding
issue of Reserve Bank Governor Gono and Attorney General Tomana).

'Either way if the MDC wrote direct to the SADC chairman I will still get a
copy of the letter. But as of now I can confirm I still have to receive it,'
Salomao said.

The MDC is seeking the intervention of SADC in forcing Robert Mugabe to
honour his end of the bargain by rescinding the unilateral appointment of
Gono and Tomana.

The appointments were made by Mugabe without consultation with the other two
principals in the inclusive government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

The MDC has often viewed Salomao with suspicion because of his assessment of
the Zimbabwe situation, which they feel has shown bias towards ZANU PF. He
proclamied last year's elections as free and fair and in 2007 said that SADC
would pull out of an EU summit in Lisbon, if Zimbabwe was on the agenda.

The new South African President holds the rotating chairmanship of the
regional bloc until August. Salomao's pronouncement that a full SADC summit
will not be convened could indicate that Zuma, as chairman of the bloc, will
take direct charge of the Zimbabwe crisis.
It is hoped that Zuma's recent election win would trigger a tougher stance
on Zimbabwe.† Zuma has in the past criticised Mbeki's soft approach to
Mugabe and last year he even rebuked Mugabe for refusing to step down as
president. During a dinner speech in July last year, Zuma told guests; 'In
Africa we have some political leaders who refuse to bow out and try to
change the constitution to accommodate themselves, as in neighbouring
Political analyst Glen Mpani told us Zuma was more likely to try to force
Mugabe to honour the power-sharing deal with Tsvangirai than Mbeki.
'Zimbabwe is probably the most pressing foreign policy issue to confront
Zuma. With his close links to Tsvangirai, the certainty is that there is
going to be no more pussyfooting around, and that he won't put up with any
more of Mugabe's shenanigans,' Mpani said.
'He's likely to concentrate on domestic matters and those of direct concern
to South Africa such as Zimbabwe. He is well appraised of what is happening
in Zimbabwe and he could take this opportunity to ensure both sides in the
GPA agree on the implementation process as prescribed by SADC,' Mpani added.

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University of Zimbabwe Faces Collapse

By Ish Mafundikwa
02 June 2009

Students at the University of Zimbabwe have not attended classes for months
due to a shortage of money. The country's oldest and biggest institution of
higher learning is on the verge of collapse.

Established in 1952, the University of Zimbabwe was for a long time the
pride of the country. Most of the people in government are among its alumni.
But the university has suffered financially as the fortunes of the country

Today it is a pale shadow of itself, with infrastructure in a state of
neglect and no running water or food for the staff and students. And
students have not attended classes for almost a year.

Government Phiri, the chairman of the Association of University Teachers,
told VOA the university's problems began to worsen almost ten years ago.

"Things have been going wrong starting around 2000. It's a situation where
we now started getting our salaries on an irregular basis until they just
about dried up. In June 2008 when we last got the equivalent of $5 that was
the last time that I can say we got a salary as university employees, not
just academics but all university employees. Right now we are just like
every Zimbabwean state-sponsored institution we are getting the US$100 that
are due to everybody," Phiri said.

Only about 1,000 of the university's 12,000 students have paid fees. The
majority of those who have paid, Phiri said, are sponsored by companies. The
government, which used to fund the institution, has not done so for some
time because it lacks money.

Phiri said even the most basic teaching and learning materials such as
writing paper and chalk are in short supply. All cafeterias on the campus
have been shut down and the farm that used to provide food for the
institution is not productive anymore. Most of the vehicles for field
research are parked, immobile, at the university. Most are broken down while
there is no fuel for the others.

VOA tried, without success, to get a comment from the Ministry of Higher and
Tertiary Education, but recently Stan Mudenge, the minister, told parliament
that UNICEF is drilling some water boreholes at the university and the
institution would open as soon as the boreholes are ready. However, Phiri
said, since water is not the only problem, the university is unlikely to
open any time soon.

"We as a union have put our position on the table. We have said for us to
come back to work we need the addressing of a total package and that is
salaries, water, contact leave, sabbatical leave, food etcetera, so this
piecemeal fashion of trying to address one thing at a time will not force us
to go back to work," Phiri said.

Some students who said they had come to check on when the university would
open spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity. They are among those who have
not paid their fees and say they cannot afford the amounts the university is
asking for.

"I am not going to pay because I do not have that amount of money, $400 [per
semester] that is just too much for me," one student said.

"My tuition only excluding accommodation is $500. My father is a civil
servant [and] he is getting paid $100 a month. I do not even know where I am
going to get that money from," said another.

Phiri said under normal circumstances the government would pay for the
students but since it declared its insolvency that is not likely. He said
about four million dollars is needed to get the university back on its feet.

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EU announces health, water aid for Zim

††††June 02 2009 at 04:19PM

Brussels - The European Commission said on Tuesday it has allocated
€8-million (about R90-million) in aid to help Zimbabweans without proper
health services and water supplies.

The funds will be used to provide medicines and medical supplies,
water treatment equipment and spare parts to upgrade water treatment plants
and wells, the European Union's executive branch said in a statement.

The projects will be operated by non-governmental relief organisations
as well as agencies from the United Nations and the Red Cross/Red Crescent

The European Union has a freeze on development aid to Zimbabwe,
meaning the commission can only send humanitarian aid which in 2007 totalled
90 million euros.
Continues Below ↓

The European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and
asset freeze on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle in protest at
controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses.

The current unity government in Harare formed by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Mugabe estimates that $8,5-billion will be needed to rebuild
an economy shattered by record hyperinflation.

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Zimbabwe considers making the Rand the official currency

By Lance Guma
02 June 2009
Finance Minister Tendai Biti says the government is weighing up the prospect
of using the South African Rand as Zimbabwe's official currency. The country
is currently using a system of multiple currencies which resulted in the
local currency dying a natural death. Biti says they are exploring 3
different options, including using the Rand, bringing back a redenominated
Zimbabwe Dollar or sticking with the current multiple currency system. He
said that a decision will be made by the end of the year.

The debate will inevitably center on whether Zimbabwe really wants to
surrender its power over monetary policy, interest rates and inflation
levels to its neighbour. The flip side of the argument is that this will
bring economic stability to a country once plagued by trillion percentage
inflation and chronic cash shortages. The current use of multiple currencies
pursued by the coalition government has so far brought inflation under
control and made previously scarce goods available in shops, but most people
cannot afford to buy the goods.

Analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told Newsreel any formal adoption of the Rand
will entail one of two things. Either South Africa will have to lend
Zimbabwe significant amounts of its money to kick start the switch, or the
country had to earn its own Rands through business transactions. He said
there were clear advantages in using the currency as South Africa had
interest and exchange rates which were competitive regionally and
internationally. Mhlanga cited Botswana as a country that benefited
tremendously from allowing the Rand to be used in its economy.

But black market foreign currency dealers have resurfaced following reports
that banks are beginning to struggle with a short supply of forex in the
system. The street dealers are moving back to reclaim a market they had
dominated for years. Even when the forex supply is good Newsreel understands
there is still a market for 'cross selling' different currencies. For
example banks are said to be offering poor rates for US to Rand conversions
while the black market is offering better rates. The dealers are also
offering much sought after small change, for high value foreign currency

With using other people's currencies, comes the risk of fake notes in the
system. There are reports that thousands of fake US dollars are circulating
in the country. Most shops have invested heavily in devices that can detect
forgeries but ordinary people, getting change from informal environments
like markets and pubs, are getting the short end of the stick. One dealer
told us some Nigerians, Angolans and South Africans in the country were very
active in the fake money printing cartels.

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Court orders Nkomo's eviction from land

June 2, 2009

By Our Correspondent

THE Land dispute pitting businessman, Langton Masunda and Zanu-PF national
chairman, John Nkomo looks set to come to an end after the High Court
yesterday ruled that Nkomo should be ejected from the piece of land.

In a ruling handed down by Justice Francis Bere at the Bulawayo High Court
yesterday, the Sheriff for Zimbabwe was ordered to eject Nkomo from Jijima
Lodge and ordered him to cease all his activities on the farm.

Reads part of the judgment: "Now therefore you are required and directed to
eject the said John Landa Nkomo and all persons claiming through him, his
goods, and possessions from and out of all occupation and possession
whatsoever of the said ground and/or premises and to leave the same, to the
end that the said Langton Masunda may peaceably enter into and possess the
same, and for so doing this shall be your warrant.

The judgment, witnessed by Judge President, Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku upheld an earlier decision that had been passed by the same
court in 2006 which entitled Masunda to the piece of land.

Reads part of the judgment handed down then: ".Masunda, through his legal
practitioners obtained an order in the High Court of Zimbabwe on the 7th day
of July 2006 against John Nkomo ordering him and all persons acting through
him not to interfere with his occupation of Jijima Lodge at present occupied
by the said John Nkomo as appears of record."

The 2006 ruling rescinded and set aside a decision by Nkomo to withdraw the
offer letter he had issued to Masunda for the land where the property that
has seen the two become regular visitors to the courts is situated.

"The decision of the first respondent to withdraw the offer of the land made
to the applicant be and is hereby set aside," read the June 2006 order.

It added: "Applicant (Langton Masunda) be and is hereby reinstated in his
occupation and use of the land he was allocated by the first respondent and
to this occupation of Jijima Lodge and its environs."

The same ruling interdicted Nkomo's agents, including the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) which had been tasked by Nkomo to keep Masunda off the farm,
from interfering in Masunda's occupation and use of the land and the lodge.

It remains to be seen whether Nkomo will respect the final judgment issued
for enforcement by the Sheriff of Zimbabwe and/or his deputy.

Recently, Nkomo's agents pummeled five bullets onto Masunda's young brother
Patrick in a case of mistaken identity. Masunda suspected he could have been
the target of the shooting.

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400 Hectares Lie Idle Due to Power Line Vandalism

27 May 2009

Harare - For the past three years, no farming has taken place at Arda's
Mushumbi Estate where 400 hectares of land that could be irrigated have been
lying idle following vandalism of Zesa power lines servicing the area.

Acting Arda estate manager Mr Baradze Mangoma said the estate last produced
crops in 2006 and they were failing to irrigate vast tracts of land because
they could not procure diesel pumps.

The lack of production has seen Arda cutting its workforce at the estate
from "hundreds to just 25 people". Mr Mangoma revealed this during a tour of
Mbire District by Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Martin
Dinha last week.
"We have six pumps which are enough to irrigate the entire 400 hectares, but
they use electricity. We used to have diesel pumps, but they were taken away
to another Arda farm in Raffingora after electricity was connected to this
area," he said.

Mr Mangoma said the theft of power cables and oil from transformers was
hampering efforts to reconnect electricity.

"We wonder when we are going to get electricity in this area so that we can
resume farming, which was stopped about three years ago," he said. Governor
Dinha expressed concern, saying it was uneconomic to leave such a huge
hectarage of arable land unproductive. He said it would be better to have
the estate partitioned and allocated to farmers who are ready to produce for
the nation.

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ZANU PF governor's son arrested for killing MDC activist

By Violet Gonda
2 June 2009

On Tuesday the MDC announced that five ZANU PF supporters, including the son
of a governor and two soldiers, had been arrested in connection with the
murder of an MDC Gokwe district organising secretary. The politically
motivated murder took place in March, a month after the political parties
had formed the coalition government.

We were not able to reach the police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena, but the
MDC said in a statement: "Farai Machaya, the son of Midlands governor,
Jaison Machaya, has been arrested with four others, including two Zimbabwe
National Army soldiers, for the murder of MDC activist, Moses Chokuda in
Gokwe in March this year."

The party said the 25 year old MDC district organising secretary was
abducted on March 21st by the five at Gokwe Centre, where he had gone to
attend an MDC council meeting. One of the other assailants has been
identified as Edmore Gana, who is Zanu PF's Midlands province youth

Chokuda was allegedly bundled into a Zanu PF Midlands province white truck
and his brutally assaulted body was found two days after his abduction, in
the bush. According to the MDC, a post mortem report prepared by a Dr. P T
Venge at Gokwe District Hospital confirmed that the cause of death was
'severe cervical spinal injury'.

"Chokuda's body still remains at Gokwe mortuary two months after his death,
while the family awaits justice to take its full course," the MDC said.

It is understood the five accused persons have appeared in court at Gokwe
Centre but are currently out on bail.

The MDC says over 500 activists were killed or tortured by ZANU PF and state
security operatives in the run-up to the discredited June 27th presidential
election run-off in 2008, but to date no one has been brought to justice.

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War vets, Zanu-PF lock horns over farmer

June 2, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Rogue war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters have harassed Celina
Pote a Zanu-PF politburo member and former Chiredzi North legislator for
testifying in court in support of Digby Nesbit a commercial farmer who is
being prosecuted for refusing to vacate his farm, a Chiredzi magistrate
heard yesterday.

Pote who is a defence witness told Chiredzi magistrate Enias Magate that
Nesbit was the lawful owner of Plot 30 Hippo Valley and that all the farm
invaders who include the officer commanding Matabeleland North Province,
Edmore Veterai, should leave the farm.

Pote who was representing the Masvingo political leadership is a key defence
witness in a case in which several Zanu-PF political heavyweights have
rallied behind the white commercial farmer.

The case has revealed the extent of polarisation over Zimbabwe's land issue.
War veteran elements and Zanu-PF supporters immediately harassed Pote on
Tuesday, accusing her of testifying against the farm invaders.

"You are a sell out," said one of the war veterans referring to Pote during
the break. "I am a war veteran and if you testify against some of us you are
going to see what we are capable of doing."

Nesbit's lawyer Rodrick Makausi of Chihambakwe, Makonese and Ncube legal
firm told the court that his client was harassed by suspected war veterans
and party supporters.

"Some rogue elements have harassed my client ", said Makausi."Some of them
followed her to her home and threatened to beat her up for testifying in
support of my client."

In rare case of solidarity Zanu-PF leaders, including politburo member
Dzikamai Mavhaire, former governor Willard Chiwewe, among others have
rallied behind Nesbit arguing that as political leaders in the province they
had agreed that he should remain on his farm.

"We held a meeting in Harare sometime last year and we all agreed that some
provinces had allowed some white farmers to remain and we all agreed that
Nesbit should stay put," Pote told the court.

Witnesses said Nesbit had been involved in community projects some of which
have benefited several people in Masvingo hence the decision by the Zanu-PF
leadership to allow him to remain on the property.

According to court records the then minister of lands land reform and
resettlement Didymus Mutasa had been briefed about the good work that Nesbit
had done and had expressed the opinion that the farmer should be allowed to
remain on his farm.

Veterai and three other war veterans invaded Nesbit's farm and have taken
their case to court arguing that Nesbit is refusing to vacate his property
after it was acquired by the state.

Presiding magistrate Magate postponed the matter to 18 June when he is
expected to deliver judgement.

Chief law officer Tawanda Zvekare represented the state.

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Lawyer struck off for farmer scam

Tuesday, 2 June 2009 16:33 UK

A solicitor has been struck off for dishonesty after conning
Zimbabwean farmers out of around £27,000.

John Asher Lockwood, 46, of Washington, told farmers who had been
evicted from their land that he could help them if they each paid him £1,000

He failed to turn up to a tribunal and was found guilty of dishonesty
by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).

He had pretended to work for a legal firm in South Shields but had
actually left in 2001, the hearing heard.

Mr Lockwood, who had only recently completed his legal training, told
the farmers they would get compensation from the British Government then
failed to answer their calls and letters.

Acting for the SRA, George Marriot said Mr Lockwood's absence gave the
impression "that he really couldn't care less."

Personal gain

He was found guilty of two allegations of dishonesty including the
misappropriation of clients' funds and passing himself off as a partner in a
law firm.

The board also found that he had persuaded his clients to enter into
an unlawful agreement and breached his professional code.

The hearing heard how 27 farmers had paid money to Mr Lockwood, but
investigators believed there could have been more.

Mr Marriot said: "I would ask the court to draw the inference that Mr
Lockwood took the money for his own personal gain."

Mr Lockwood was ordered to pay costs of £10,380.

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Prison service broke: Chinamasa

by Nqobizitha Khumalo Tuesday 02 June 2009

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's Justice Ministry, which has in recent months failed to
take prisoners to court because there are no vehicles at prisons, says it
has no funds to sustain the country's jails having received only a fraction
of its annual budget allocation to date.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told ZimOnline on Thursday that his
ministry, which has to date received only US$327 000 from Treasury, was
prioritising feeding prisoners.

Chinamasa said there was not even a single Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS)
vehicle in operation, adding that the problems affecting the prison services
were beyond his ministry.

"There are no resources from the Ministry of Finance and we have been
approaching the Ministry of Finance on a daily basis looking for funds to
repair the vehicles but the country has no money," said Chinamasa.

"My ministry was this year allocated US$17.7 million under the budget but we
only received US$327 000 as there are no funds available."

He said all the money received was being directed towards purchasing food,
clothing, blankets, cups, plates and other utensils, and said the money is
not even adequate for that.

Chinamasa said his ministry was appealing for donations and for other people
to assist outside of the budget, as the situation was not likely to improve
anytime soon.

"My main priority at the moment is to ensure that there is food for the
prisoners as the budget we are operating on is too tight," Chinamasa said.

Zimbabwean lawyers and judges have in the past expressed concern at prisons
authorities' failure to bring suspects to court for trial and routine remand

ZPS has been mired in a catalogue of problems lately which has seen
prisoners going without food, blankets and clothing among other shortages.

Food shortages in the country's prisons have seen an increase in ?incidences
of pellagra, scabies and other diet related diseases.

In April this year a South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)
television documentary revealed appalling conditions in Zimbabwe's prisons
where skeletal bodies of inmates showed the extent of the situation in the

However the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has since April
begun working in Zimbabwe's prisons to try to improve conditions in the
jails. - ZimOnline

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10 prisoners die of cholera

June 2, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - At least ten prisoners died over the weekend at Mutimurefu Prison
amid reports that several others have been hospitalised following a fresh
outbreak of cholera at the institution.

Five inmates were found dead in their cells on Saturday morning while five
others died on admission at Masvingo General Hospital.

Police in Masvingo yesterday confirmed the deaths but could not give
details, arguing that investigations to establish the death of the ten were
still in progress.

Police spokesman Inspector Phibion Nyambo said, "I can confirm that there
have been deaths at Mutimurefu Prison but we are yet to establish the cause
of the deaths."

However sources within the prison service said a fresh cholera outbreak has
hit the prison.

"There has been a fresh outbreak of cholera at Mutimurefu and so far ten
inmates have died", said the source.

"About 20 other inmates from the same prison are currently in hospital under
prison guard and are in critical condition ".

Prison officials at Mutimurefu are allegedly refusing to establish a cholera
treatment centre for fear of tarnishing the government.

"You know the government declared that cholera is now under control but the
situation here is different because people are dying every day." sources

"If they establish a cholera treatment centre at the institution then it
will mean that the war against cholera is yet to be over hence prison
officials are refusing to† establish a cholera treatment centre here."

It also emerged yesterday that at least seven inmates died during the
beginning of the year at the institution due to malnutrition.

The minister of Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa
has already confirmed that the situation in the country's prisons is far
from satisfactory.

According to Chinamasa there is serious starvation in the prisons with
inmates sometimes going for days without food.

Chinamasa's admission came a few days after a video footage aired by the
South African Broadcasting Corporation revealed that there was massive
starvation in Zimbabwe's prisons.

According to Chinamasa's deputy, Jessie Majome, about 970 inmates have died
in the country's prisons since the beginning of the year.

In addition to the food shortage Zimbabwe's prisons are also plagued by

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Zimbabwe's Finance Minister installs advanced accounting software

By Moses Muchemwa

Published: June 2, 2009

Harare† - Zimbabwe's Finance Minister has said he is implementing what he
has defined as 'strict measures to control government spending', which
government stalwarts have abused in previous years. One of these is the
installation of advanced accounting software to ensure government funds are
not abused as before.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed Monday that he was plugging loopholes
that were abused by the President Mugabe regime. The past government through
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono plundered funds as the
central bank was directly involved in bankrolling Zanu-PF programmes, Biti

However, Biti emphasised that the looting days were over and "it's now time
for serious business."

Biti and Gono are at loggerheads over the running of the RBZ with the
Finance Minister calling for the RBZ boss's ouster.

Biti has argued that donors were withholding aid because Gono is at the helm
of the central bank.

Mugabe has also defended Gono whom he pays tribute for "working hard during
a difficult period last year."

Biti most importantly revealed that he was installing advanced accounting
software in government departments with an aim to curtail unscrupulous

Zimbabwe's passionate plea for aid has received little attention from
wealthy international donors due to the continuous breach of the Global
Political Agreement by Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

Fresh farm invasions and the appointment of Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana are some of the factors that are scaring away donors and
investors, according to political analysts.

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Hot Seat: (PRT 1) Minister Matinenga vs Dr Madhuku on the state of the new Constitution

SW Radio Africa Transcript

Zimbabwe Constitution Debate

Journalist Violet Gonda interviews Minister Eric Matinenga and NCA leader Dr Lovemore Madhuku. The debate focuses on the government’s position regarding the constitution-making process, a process which is much opposed by the NCA.

Broadcast: 29 May 2009

VIOLET GONDA: Eric Matinenga, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, and Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the Chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly are my guests on the Hot Seat programme this week. Let me start with Minister Matinenga, what is the state of the Constitutional reform process right now?

Dr Lovemore Madhuku †††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††Minister Eric Matinenga

ERIC MATINENGA: Violet, the process as you know is governed by the provisions of Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement. The starting point in that Agreement is the establishment of a Parliamentary Select Committee. That Committee is now in place and that Committee is earnestly making preparations for what we call the First Stakeholders Conference which must be held about mid-July. In making these preparations, the Select Committee has firstly chosen three co-chairs; it has also established a number of draft committees in order to drive the process through to the First Stakeholders Conference.

Amongst these committees is a budget committee for obvious reasons, there is a stakeholders committee which will seek to establish who is a stakeholder and how these stakeholders are identified. It has also established a management committee again for obvious reasons so that it manages its life up to the First Stakeholders Conference. It is also going to be doing some outreach programmes between now and the First Stakeholders Conference. These outreach programmes are meant to make sure that civic society, stakeholders are part of the process from the very beginning. You know they are also doing a draft plan and again this draft plan is going to be put to various stakeholders and civil society so that anything which has been done by the select committee up to the First Stakeholders Conference is done through the ownership of the people of Zimbabwe .

VIOLET GONDA: So what is the budget for this exercise?

MATINENGA: The budget, or the budgets are going to be different. We look at the budget between now and First Stakeholders and the budget after Stakeholders will be entirely different. In fact there are going to be, let me say, three draft budgets. There is a budget between now and First Stakeholders’, there is a budget for the First Stakeholders proper and there is a budget post-Stakeholders’. The budget has not been definitively finalised yet because as I said earlier on we are looking at an outreach programme in preparation for the First Stakeholder so it is a budget which is changing every time, unfortunately on the upward side

GONDA: But can you give us a rough estimate?

MATINENGA: We are looking at, if we go to the First Stakeholders, we are looking at something in the region of US$1.5 million.

GONDA: And after Stakeholders?

MATINENGA: Sorry, after Stakeholders, it’s virtually impossible because we don’t even know the numbers at Stakeholders and in particular it is at the Stakeholders, that the issue of committees is going to be determined and our budget will now have to be worked having regard to what the stakeholders, civic society and everybody else has said must be done arriving out of the First Stakeholders. Obviously it’s going to be more than US$2 million.

GONDA: So what about the issue of the repressive laws because many people have been asking about this. Where are you in terms of unbundling repressive laws like the Criminal Codification Act which is where the draconian Public Order and Security Act is stuffed?

MATINENGA: Just today Violet, we met as Council of Ministers and there is a draft legislative agenda circulated by the Prime Minister’s department which identifies these various pieces of legislation which must be addressed in order that we seek to make our society freer so that, not only that during this process but for time to come, we are in a position to associate freely, we are in a position to express ourselves freely. Let me also say that on Monday next week, the committee on Standing Rules and Orders, which committee is tasked with the responsibility of putting in place the various commissions is meeting for the second time in order to put final touches to the establishment of the various commissions – your Media Commission, your Human Rights Commission, your Anti-Corruption Commission and ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission). So while the constitutional process is progressing as I explained, we are also making sure that the various issues which are necessarily attendant to having a properly participative constitutional process are being attended to.

GONDA: Why has there been such a long delay in repealing these repressive legislations, especially when you don’t actually need to wait for a new Constitution to scrap these Acts?

MATINENGA: Let me differ with respect. We’ve been in government now for about three months and when one has regards as to where we come from, one cannot expect that things are going to change in a day or a week. Yes maybe things could have moved at a quicker pace but certainly we (inaudible) to our responsibilities and these issues which are a cause of bother are issues which are being addressed.

GONDA: But you know your critics say that your party in particular is not getting its act together fast enough to start this debate of the new Constitution and say that for example you are actually in danger of losing your majority in parliament especially as you have under six months left when the moratorium on by-elections expires. How do you respond to this?

MATINENGA: I think when people talk about a democratisation process, people should not look at one aspect of this process. People should look at myriads of things which must be attended to and you know it is critical that whilst people must criticise - it is healthy that they should criticise – people should also seek to look at where you are coming from. We are coming out of a situation, nearly a war situation in Zimbabwe and coming out of such a situation one cannot expect that immediately the following day metaphorically then things should dramatically change because that is not what life is all about. Life is slightly different unfortunately.

GONDA: Your critics say Zanu-PF is in no rush to change some of these laws since it created them and you mentioned a bit about media reforms and we all know that one of the most important aspects for opening up the democratic space is media reform so why is there this delay? What is the delay about? What are the challenges you are facing on this?

MATINENGA: Violet, there is no delay. You specifically made reference to media reform, the nature in which our laws are made up is that there should be a Media Commission and that Media Commission is established by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, so firstly you have to put in place that Committee and then that committee will then have to meet. It has met once; it is meeting again on Monday in order to put the final touches to the establishment of one of these commissions.

GONDA: But surely, the government was formed three months ago as you’ve also said on this programme, why is it they have only met once for such an important process like this?

MATINENGA: Violet, I tell you there are so many demands on this government. Yes, media reform is one of the important components or one of the important issues which we have to address but it certainly is not the only one and the fact that this committee has met once and is meeting for the second time does not mean that it minimises the issue of media reform, no. In fact what happened when the committee met the first time it established a sub-committee. The sub-committee then met in order to suggest procedures regarding the manner in which this commission must be set up and the sub-committee obviously will then make recommendations to its main committee which is meeting on Monday - in order to assess the recommendation and to move forward. So it is not a question of sitting on our backs and doing nothing, no. Something has been done and is being done.

GONDA: What is the legal status of the Media and Information Commission and do journalists really need to be accredited because there seems to be confusion over this issue now?

MATINENGA: Yes, there has been two positions; one stated by the Prime Minister and one stated by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity and the Prime Minister has clearly indicated that he’s going to be speaking to the relevant Minister in this regard so that there is a consistent position on this point.

GONDA: So what is the position?

MATINENGA: The consistent position, as I am aware of it, is the one stated by the Prime Minister.

GONDA: Can you just elaborate on that?

MATINENGA: Now the Prime Minister has indicated that the Media Information Commission which used to be responsible for these issues in regards to our particular environment is no longer effective and until such time that there is a Commission which is going to be set up in terms of the new dispensation, then that Media Commission which used to operate can safely be ignored.

GONDA: So why is it that the Minister of Information Webster Shamu and even the President’s Press Secretary, George Charamba insist that journalists need to be accredited? Why are they contradicting the Prime Minister on this?

MATINENGA: I wish I could respond to that question but unfortunately I can’t. They obviously appear to be working on a different wave length to what the position is and what the Prime Minister is saying. But what the Prime Minister has said is obviously going to be followed up and I’m aware that the Prime Minister is going to be speaking to the relevant Minister in this regard.

GONDA: OK. Let me bring Dr Madhuku into this discussion. Dr Madhuku, first of all why is the National Constitutional Assembly so against the government constitution making process, since the GPA has clearly defined a process of consultation? What are your concerns about the process in the present form?

LOVEMORE MADHUKU: Our concerns are very clear. We have always made these concerns not just in relation to this current process but also in relation to previous processes. So we are simply restating positions that we have held as an organisation from our formation some 12 years ago. We believe that a constitution making process must not be led by the government of the day or the political parties who dominate the government of the day. I think the process must be led by an independent body which is constituted by various stakeholders but that body must not just be independent it must also be seen to be independent. And one way of ensuring that there is an independent process is to get a commission, normally chaired by a judge or a former judge or some other independent person but for the NCA now we are insisting on a judge or a former judge and you can get those policies in that board and others.

This current process was brought to the country by the political parties who were negotiating the so-called Global Political Agreement. That is a clear indication that it is a political party-led process of making a new constitution for the country. Even if it then involves people being invited by the political parties to join it, it doesn’t change the fact that it is led by politicians. I think I heard from the Minister there that the political parties who are in the Select Committee have actually set up a sub-committee that they call a Stakeholders Committee or Stakeholders Conference Committee and he said that the purpose of that committee is to then look around and say who is a stakeholder, who is not.

So even the definition of who qualifies to be a participant of that so-called Stakeholders Conference will be decided by the authorities. They may do pre-Conference consultation but at the end of the day they are going to send out invitations themselves to the people that they would want attend and that is wrong as far as we are concerned. So our concerns are based on the process which we believe is dominated by the political parties. I must quickly add that the political parties themselves may have realised that they were dominating the process, they tried at some point to change some aspects, for example trying to get an independent chair for the Select Committee. They failed that. We still don’t have that and so on and so it is a clear compromise process so the NCA is opposed to it.

GONDA: But you know some people have said that as the NCA, you really need to unpack this notion of a people driven process of yours so that your alternative is clear because some may say because it’s going through parliament, the parliamentarians are representatives of the people. So what happened though to the NCA draft constitution of 2000 and how different is the situation now and what happened in 2000?

MADHUKU: I think you are asking me that question – the answer should be clear. The 2000 process is no different from the current one in fact the current one is worse than that 2000 one. In 2000 we had a Constitutional Commission which was chaired by a judge of the High Court Justice Chidyausiku - we had problems with his independence, but the Commission then had about 400 members. More than half of whom were not members of parliament. Each member of that Commission was equal to the other, in other words, there was not a super group made of members of parliament and another sub-group made of civil society. The current one says you have a Select Committee, everyone else is sub-standard, you are actually supposed to be in a sub position, and you report to the Select Committee so there’s this superior group and inferior group and so forth.

The 2000 one didn’t have that. The problem then in 2000 was that the President at the end of the process did change some provisions of the draft that had come from the Commission. In the current process there are so many opportunities, not just for the President but for other people who now sit in a group of three, they are called Principals - who have a lot of powers. And one of the powers exercised so far is that they will not accept an independent person to chair the Select Committee. So you will have so many people changing whatever the people have said even though there are assurances from the Minister and others that won’t happen. We in the NCA don’t believe that, we don’t trust it, we would not take the risk of participating in a process where we realise that there are so many frameworks for the tampering of the peoples’ views.

GONDA: So what are you advocating exactly? That the 2000 NCA document be part of the debate or a consolidation of the two documents?

MADHUKU: We have not said any of what you are saying, we have not said that. That is obviously not acceptable. What we would want which we have advocated and have expressed this to the government; we are not saying this is what must happen, this is our view as the NCA. Of course some people may not accept it; they have the freedom not to accept it. We also have the freedom to insist on our process. We believe that there must be established, an independent Commission. The establishment of that Commission can be facilitated by the government in discussion with civil society and come up with a board of between 400 and 600 people in the country who are generally acceptable to both the government and civil society. That body becomes an independent body that then takes the whole process of coming up with a new constitution, ending with a referendum.

GONDA: But Dr Madhuku, you have already started a ‘Vote No’ campaign, so what happens if the parliamentary process comes up with the same constitution as yours, something that you actually approve of?

MADHUKU: It is a very serious media misdirection to say that the NCA has already started a ‘Vote No’ campaign. I mean if you go anywhere in the country, you won’t see any ‘Vote No’ posters, no ‘Vote No’ pamphlets, no Vote No meetings and so forth. There’s no such thing. What the NCA is saying is that it will campaign for a ‘No Vote’ when the time comes. At the moment we are in the process of trying to persuade the authorities to embark on an acceptable process to us, acceptable to the majority I think of those who believe in a process not led by government.

So at the current stage we are advocating for an independent process which we believe is what we will call a people driven process. But of course the government is going ahead. We will campaign for a ‘No Vote’ if the referendum is called; there is no ‘No Vote’ campaign at the moment. At the moment we are on the underground, talking to people and advising them that the current process is not acceptable.

GONDA: Minister Matinenga, your thoughts on this and also, hasn’t the NCA got a point here that even if to some extent your process is people driven, parliament, that’s the politicians still make the final decision at the end of the day?

MATINENGA: No that’s not the position Violet. Let’s start from the very beginning. There is no single model for making a constitution and it is not the identity or the institution which is of paramount importance. It is what that institution does which makes the process people driven or not. Let’s look at South Africa . The South African constitution was a constitution initiated and driven by politicians. The ANC is a nationalist party but it is what they did that made their process people driven and when you look at the situation in Zimbabwe today there are no patriots and super patriots. So there is not going to be any difference between a member of the Select Committee and a member of the sub-committee because the aim is the same – the people want to see to it that they come up with a constitution which is representative of what the people want. So nobody is going to make a decision on behalf of the other. It is the people who make that decision. At the end of the day, right at the end, there will be a referendum where everybody will either endorse that document or will reject it, so it’s simply not true, with respect that there are persons who are going to make decisions for others, no.

GONDA: What is your view then on the NCA stance -the stance that the NCA has taken?

MATINENGA: What I have said all along is the NCA is an organisation in Zimbabwe which is free to state its views and I’ve also said, and I say this honestly and earnestly that yes, we may disagree with the NCA, I hope that at the end of the day we nevertheless find areas of convergence. But that whatever differences we have with them we must protect their rights to say what they believe in. And I say again I hope that at the end of the day we will be able to converge and agree on what we should do because this is the last opportunity for the people of Zimbabwe . If we lose this opportunity, I’m afraid that it may take quite a bit of time for another opportunity to avail itself for this very same purpose.

GONDA: Dr Madhuku?

MADHUKU: Yes I think that I need to respond to some of the points that the minister has raised. There are so many misleading points that he is raising there. The first one is that the example given of the South African process, it is not true that the South African process was a politician driven, yes of course the politicians were involved, but there are so many elements there. The South African constitution in 1993, which was the interim one, there was no parliament then at the time that interim constitution was adopted which then led to the election of Nelson Mandela as President. That was the CODESA process – yes there were political parties but there were so many other South Africans who participated in that process.

And those South Africans gave the South African parliament a list of principles, 34 of them, and parliament was then asked to make a constitution in accordance with a set of principles made not by parliament but others who included politicians. And then once the parliamentarians had done it they were supposed to pass that constitution to a constitutional court made up of 11 independent judges. They certified the constitution and on the first point they rejected it and said; ‘your constitution does not correspond with the principles.’ Then they had to redo a number of areas and then after that certification.

There’s no such thing as independent process here. The politicians move from the select parliament process, parliament, then they have the referendum where I am sure they will distort the campaign process. So although we agree that ultimately really it’s a question of what the Zimbabweans say, we don’t have to reach the stage of referendum to determine what Zimbabweans think. I think the government must be a leader enough, they must lead properly, and they must govern properly by allowing that legitimate concerns of citizens are taken on board. So if the Minister says well the NCA has a right to say what it wants to say we will protect it but I think it doesn’t really auger well for good governance, for a government to throw away a very clear point that the making of a constitution must not be led by the government of the day. Matinenga is Minister today, tomorrow he is out of government and so on and then the next person is President, tomorrow they are out.

But if we create a precedent to where those who are in government at a particular time decide to use their popularity to bring about constitution making processes then we might have as many constitutions as we have new popular politicians and that is the point that the NCA is making. I think we should try and accommodate a process that has the consent of a large majority. I know that what the Minister has not said which his party and those in Zanu-PF are saying is that ‘well the NCA does not represent many people, it has a few people’ and this is the argument that we had in 2000. So we are going through the same cycle again because the only reason why they are not listening, not even taking into account the concerns we are raising, I think it’s because as politicians they believe they have the power and when it matters at the referendum they just go to their rallies and say Vote Yes which is I think a very big mistake. But the NCA thinks that it will be important for us to reach some agreement. If we cannot we will definitely go for a No campaign and then the people will decide

GONDA: Your thoughts on this Minister Matinenga and also is it true that you’re not listening to your former allies, the NCA?

MATINENGA: No that is not true. I have shared more than one platform with Dr Madhuku. Dr Madhuku, the last platform I shared with him, declared at the meeting that he was not going to be party to this process. He has already staked his flag to the mast. And I said look, don’t close the door. But he said we have made a point as NCA and we are sticking by this point. He actually said no matter how you people want to persuade me, I’m not going to be party to this process. So it’s not true that we do not want to engage, we want to engage.

And let me just go back to the South African position, what happened in South Africa , and I’m glad Dr Madhuku concedes that the interim constitution was a political constitution, a constitution led by the political parties. It is those political parties who then set the parameters of how a constitution was going to be made. It is those political parties who said it is the First Assembly which is going to be turned into a constituent assembly in addition to a legislative assembly. What we have in Zimbabwe Violet is a mini constituent assembly and it arises out of the peculiar circumstances faced by Zimbabwe at the time. So there is no difference and it is not true that people are not going to be involved.

As he properly said at the very beginning, Article 6 clearly provides people be party to this process at the Stakeholders that they form part of the sub-committees. It is up to the people to determine how many sub-committees they want. It is up to the people to determine the themes, the subjects which are going to be covered by those sub-committees. It is not the select committee with respect. So I cannot understand the position that ‘well we are being sidelined.’ Nobody is being sidelined. We want everybody to participate and would be glad if people really come up and participate because it is their right and Article 6 makes provision for that.

GONDA: Bearing in mind though of what happened in the past Minister, what guarantee is there really that Zanu-PF will agree if right now you can’t even get them to get rid of the Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono? Will Zanu-PF really agree to a constitution that limits their powers, for example?

MATINENGA: Violet, you are in a political process OK? No matter what we would have done, no matter what institution we would have set up, if the feeling is that it is going to be sabotaged by Zanu-PF at a particular stage, Zanu-PF will still do so. And my point is this we are now in a different political matrix. You know that in 1979 when President Mugabe set up this commission, President Mugabe was not obliged at law to accept what that commission did or said or recommended but this is not a position now. The position now is entirely different and there is no ways that Mugabe can now dictate the other two political parties and to the generality of the Zimbabweans as to what they should do. Because when it comes to the constitution it is no longer about the three political parties it is about the people of Zimbabwe .

GONDA: But when you say we are now in a political matrix and that things are changing, to what extent are they really changing when even on this programme earlier on, you couldn’t answer why the Minister of Information or the Press Secretary George Charamba actually defied Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s statement that journalists do not need to get accredited, there’s no need for accreditation for journalists. So to what extent have things really changed?

MATINENGA: Look Violet, we are coming from a situation where people had completely different and differing mindsets. It’s going to take time to have those people singing from the same hymn sheet. I did say earlier on, one would have wanted that things would have changed for the better in a much quicker time but this is the situation we find ourselves in and it’s taking a bit of time but these issues are being addressed and what we should really ask ourselves is; do we really have any other option but to try to work within these agreements and hope. Because if you continue talking, if you continue talking and if you give yourself time to talk, sooner or later you’ll come to an agreement and that is happening in Zimbabwe now.

GONDA: And stay tuned for a continuation of this intense debate on the constitution-making process with Constitution Minister Eric Matinenga and NCA leader Dr Lovemore Madhuku. The frank discussion includes the issue of the plan to divide Zimbabwe into five regions. Is devolution a consideration for the constitution-making process?

For comments and feedback please e-mail

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Letter from Africa: Not hell on earth but a place rotting from within

Africa correspondent David Smith travels to Zimbabwe and finds Harare, on
first glance, full of ordinary lives in quiet desperation

David Smith, Tuesday 2 June 2009 13.05 BST

For me the thrill of visiting a country for the first time never diminishes.
The plane slowing on the tarmac as the voice says, "Welcome to Buenos
Aires", or Moscow or wherever, the shiny purgatory of the airport, then the
stepping outside for the first breath of native air.

When the country in question is Zimbabwe, there's an added cocktail of
trepidation, intrigue and expectation of the unexpected. Last week
Archbishop Desmond Tutu said that Zimbabwe had become "a hell on earth".
Media coverage gives snapshots of famine and disease, a general impression
of anarchy that leaves little room to imagine shops, living rooms and the
everyday stuff of life.

I'm writing this at the end of my first day in Harare. First impressions are
notoriously evanescent, but here are mine.

Harare international airport is as modern as any other. Well, almost: there
are several gold framed portraits of President Robert Mugabe, looking
younger and more virile than his present 85 years. Get outside and there's
the familiar buzz of luggage trolleys, taxis and a city waiting to be
On the way into town, a Welcome to Harare sign competes for billboard space
with a Coca-Cola advert. Some street lights work, others do not. Traffic
lights are also a hit and miss affair, which leaves drivers eyeing each
other warily and trying to guess who will make the first move. When cars do
stop, they are approached by street sellers or children begging for money.

Pickup trucks are crammed with people or furniture. Some travellers prefer
to wait in long bus queues or bicycle or walk. Women balance bags on their
heads and carry babies wrapped ingeniously in blankets on their backs.

Dickens would have appreciated the name of the Rotten Row magistrates court.
Or the brutal architecture of Mugabe's Zanu-PF headquarters, a towering
concrete beast that, if designed to intimidate, achieves the feat
magnificently. At its top is an image of the party symbol, a black cockerel.

I arrived at the Glamis stadium where the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), nearing four months into its unity government with Zanu-PF, was
holding its annual convention. I looked up and saw Morgan Tsvangirai,
Zimbabwe's prime minister, striding across the hall.

Like a celebrity interviewer diving across the red carpet, I segued into
Tsvangirai's path and introduced myself in the hope of an interview. He
extended a hand and slowed, but his gaze remained fixed on the middle
distance. A security minder steered him on towards a waiting car,
shouldering me to one side.

I switched my attention to his most powerful lieutenant, Tendai Biti, the
finance minister and the MDC secretary-general. Biti invited me to follow
him up to a VIP suite where the tone was rugby-club hospitality: red sashes
on white table cloths, chuckling waiters serving food from a silver buffet.
The suite looked down on a poorly maintained field that Biti explained was
once used for showjumping. Now grass and weeds had begun to reclaim the
concrete terraces.

I paused over a bowl of ice cream and fruit as Biti's eloquence began to
flow. In between mouthfuls of lunch and consulting a chunky Nokia mobile
phone, he spoke with passion about how far he believed the unity government
had come since the darkest days of last year.

I followed him into a corridor, conversing as we rounded a corner or two and
went through another doorway. He stopped, facing a wall, and I suddenly
understood I had pursued him into the toilets. We each laughed at the
momentary absurdity, then I slipped away.

I stopped at the Rainbow Towers, a five-star hotel where tourists idled as
they might do anywhere. A plaque testified that it was called the Sheraton
when Mugabe officially opened it in 1988. The grass around the car park, I
was told, used to be far more lush.

Then to the Parirenyatwa hospital, announced by a sign bearing the logo of
Dettol. People were queuing outside, patiently but plaintively. I walked
into the accident and emergency ward unchallenged and observed nurses
chatting and men sitting to watch football on a black and white television.

Patients could be seen lying on trolley beds in wards or corridors under
ragged blankets that contained holes. A line of women sat against a wall,
three with drip feeds in their arms. There was a prevailing mood of
resignation yet endurance.

I drove on in the magical light of late afternoon. Through the long
yellowing grass I glimpsed a congregation of black people dressed all in
white, many on their knees in prayer. On street corners outside the state
house compound stood sentries with rifles slung over their shoulders,
looking bored.

I passed signs tied to lampposts advertising Aquadrill, a company much in
demand for drilling boreholes. At a Total petrol station and its Spar
supermarket, people queued to get buckets filled with water from one such
borehole. Nearby, soldiers in military fatigues waved their hands in the
hope of hitching a lift.

Desmond Tutu might have described it as hell, but Harare is not the hell of
bombs and bullets in Baghdad or Mogadishu. Instead the sense is of a cancer
in the body, of a vegetation rotting from within. It is not the stuff of
epic or opera, but rather of ordinary lives of quiet desperation.

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Gono the genius, what genius?

June 2, 2009

By Chenjerai Hove

It is amazing how some Zimbabweans live in our economically defeated
country, Zimbabwe, the cruel, beloved homeland.

None other than Eric Bloch, advisor to 'our governor' Gideon Gono, claims
the man is a 'genius.' I hope Bloch, a supposedly seasoned economist of many
years standing, was speaking tongue-in-cheek, as they say. But if he meant
it, one has to review Gono's so-called achievements that might have earned
that accolade.

It could be that Mr Bloch spoke tongue-in-cheek, as they say, in the
Shakespearean way of calling the murderers of Caesar honourable men.

If that is the case, yes, Dr Gono is a genius, if we want to be reckless
with words. The evidence is there for all to see.

First, he is such a brainy man he has managed, in a short period of time, to
teach even illiterate villagers what 'hyper-hyperinflation' is all about.
Before Gono, not many people knew that horrible word. But now everyone who
deals with money knows fully well what hyperinflation is all about,
including children who can barely read.

With it, Dr Gono invented a 50 trillion or so bank note never heard of
anywhere in the world. It is reasonable to imagine that he was already
preparing to print a 50 quintillion dollar note whose zeros can be lined up
right across any Zimbabwean city with more zeros to spare.

Dr Gono also went ahead and wiped ordinary people's savings in one fell
swoop. All of a sudden the banks were no longer places where you entered
with a smile. People became afraid to be insulted by standing in a bank
queue knowing that the bags of money they will come out with are worthless
pieces of shame. Those who would have boasted of having millions in the bank
found they were poorer than a church mouse. The villager who had a few
chickens roaming the yard was much richer and happier.

It is a work of genius, indeed, when the central bank chief takes over the
work of government ministers, dishing out farm machinery and inputs as if
the minister of agriculture were on sick leave pending retirement. Dr Gono's
genius goes further: he decided to pay farmers not with cash as promised,
but with fertilizers and seed. That means if the farmer wants to send his
children to school, he would have to pay in bags of fertilizer or seed.

As can already be seen, teachers and heads of schools have followed Dr Gono's
example by demanding school fee payment in goats, sheep, cows, and grain.
That phenomenon is the inspiration of "Our Great Governor". We can now pay
or our airfares in goats, sheep, cows, grain and many other things which
would never fit in a till. Even the sick might have to bring a cage full of
chickens to pay for medication which is not even there. What a genius!

Our genius governor does not mind schools being closed for lack of basic
equipment and teachers. His great brain tells him to give all the money
solely to Zanu-PF politicians. In the process, having been University of
Zimbabwe Chairman of Council, he allows that same institution to collapse
while he takes his own children to some far away lands to study. He does not
think the University of Zimbabwe, where he got his honorary doctorate, is
worth his own children's education.

It is such an act of genius when the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe appoints none
other than Mr Joseph Chinotimba onto the board of advisors at the bank. What
expertise Mr Chinotimba brings to the bank would need only a genius to
figure out.

As governor of genius, Dr Gono was highly praised by his principal, Mr
Mugabe, BA, BEd, LLB, MSc, Black Belt, etc for throwing away any textbook
monetary ideas and policies. All Dr Gono needed, as a genius, was some kind
of economic black belt to bash the economy beyond recognition. That is

From the history of geniuses, we learn that most of them were adamant in
terms of the discipline of their field of study. Imagine if Dr Albert
Einstein had listened to some cheer leader and thrown away the knowledge of
his science in order to satisfy his principals! Imagine if Mozart had thrown
away his genial mind and allowed himself to be taught musical composition by
some good-for-nothing composer!

Dr Gono's economic genius has managed to send a larger percentage of
economically productive citizens away from his karate economics than war.
But since geniuses are not far from madness, it might be sensible to argue
that this monetary policy genius leave office and leave the job to someone
who can follow some basic textbook rules with some positive results.

Even Messrs Bloch and Chinotimba's monetary genius is deeply in question
since they gave advice which led to the total collapse of the local
currency. It might be that their brief was to assist "Our Governor" work out
the fastest way of destroying the economy. Those advisors should probably
also pack their bags and relieve us of their genial monetary advice.

His advisors should have whispered in his ear that he is not "Our Governor",
but the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. It takes genius to blur
the difference.

But we know, for sure, that when stories of monetary policy geniuses are
written, the name of Dr Gideon Gono, will not be among them, even as a

(c) Chenjerai Hove, 2009

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Zimbabwe needs a strong and independent parliament

The legislature is one of the three pillars of the State.The other pillars
are the executive and the judiciary.Put simply,the doctrine of separation of
powers essentially entails that each of the three pillars of the State
should be independent from the other if real and substantive democracy is to
be observed.It,therefore,follows that the true tenets of democracy are
severely compromised in countries where one of the arms of the State,in most
cases the executive,becomes super-strong and domineering at the expense of
the other arms of the State.Typically,in most if not all totalitarian
States,the executive arm is very powerful and it literally relegates the
legislature and the judiciary to subsidiary roles where they become weak
appendages of the executive.Proceeding on the assumption that Zimbabwe
should not be a totalitarian State,it naturally follows,therefore,that we
need a strong and independent legislature as well as an independent
judiciary that is always ready to dispense justice without fear or
favour.Anything short of this is clearly not acceptable.

I make no apology in stating that since independence in 1980,Zimbabwe's
parliamentary system has not developed to an acceptable level inasfar as
modern democratic tenets are concerned.Invariably.parliament has been
virtually dominated by one political party to such an extent that most
pieces of legislation,no matter how controversial,such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act( AIPPA) and the Public Order and
Security Act( POSA) have been rail-roaded through parliament with relative
ease and comfort.It is my considered view that a parliament that is
exclusively dominated by one political party is never good for
democracy.Alternative viewpoints are always healthy in order to
nurture,develop and sustain a genuine democracy.For democracy to
thrive,there is always a need to have a vibrant opposition in parliament
that is able to play a genuine oversight role over the activities of the
executive.The inclusive government in Zimbabwe gives us a unique
parliamentary set-up where we virtually do not have an opposition in
parliament save for the lone voice of one Jonathan Moyo.Whether or not the
unique parliamentary set-up that is presently obtaining in Zimbabwe is good
for democracy is neither here nor there.Suffice to state that a parliament
should always strive to have a strong and fearless opposition voice.

Parliament has basically three main functions and these are to legislate,to
play a representational role to the people who vote legislators into office
and also to play an oversight role over the activities of the executive arm
of the State.A parliament that fails to effectively carry out any of these
three main functions is therefore a serious impediment to the development of
democracy.A parliament that merely rubberstamps the actions and decisions of
the executive is a catalyst towards the development of a
dictatorship.Zimbabwe doesnot need a dictatorship.What we need is a
robust,independent and well-funded parliament that will genuinely play a
decisive role in the democratisation agenda in Zimbabwe.I am a legislator in
the seventh parliament of Zimbabwe that was voted into office on March
29,2008.My experience so far has been anything but rosy.We have a parliament
that is so severely underfunded that it is unable to hold parliamentary
sittings that are long.In most cases,parliament just sits for a few days
and/or hours before a long adjournment is announced.For all the months that
I have been a member of parliament,the legistative agenda has been virtually
non-existent.Only a few pieces of legislation have been dealt with so far in
both houses of parliament.For the avoidance of doubt,I will itemise the few
pieces of legislation that parliament has dealt with to date.These are the
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment No.19 Act,the Zimbabwe National Security
Council Act,the Finance Act and the Appropriation Act.New pieces of
legislation to enhance Zimbabwe's democratisation agenda have simply not
been forth-coming from the inclusive government.Here is hoping that when
parliament resumes sitting on June 16,2009 we are going to be kept busy by
dealing with new pieces of legislation as envisaged in the global political
agreement (GPA) that was solemnised on September 15,2008 in Harare.

I am very mindful of the prevailing economic and financial challenges that
are being faced by our country.I am also acutely aware of the fact that the
inclusive government is cash-strapped and that it has to attend to many
competing interests.Be that as it may,I humbly urge the inclusive government
to take note of the debilitating poverty and destitution that is afflicting
the majority of our parliamentarians.Most of them cannot even afford to buy
a single meal in the hotels in which they are booked during parliamentary
sessions.Parliament normally pays for bed and breakfast only and the
individual legislators have to take care of the other meals.Lest I am
misunderstood by the readers;I am not by any stretch of the imagination
suggesting that legislators are a special breed of Zimbabweans who deserve
to be pampered.No.All I am stating is that it is dehumanising and utterly
humiliating for† honourable members of parliament to be seen stashing bread
rolls in their handbags during breakfast so that they can cater for their
next meal! In similar measure,it is an unmitigated embarassment for an
honourable member of parliament to tour his/her constituency using public
transport simply because the Treasury has not made available the requisite
funds to purchase motor vehicles for parliamentarians.I have nothing but
absolute respect for our Minister of Finance and on some occassions,I have
personally appealed to him to urgently do something about the plight of our
parliamentarians if the legislature is to remain a useful and relevant arm
of the state in the New Zimbabwe that we are all so keen on building.

On our own part as legislators,I also humbly urge my fellow legislators not
to be cry babies.We should not expect to earn a living by getting into
parliament.First and foremost,being a parliamentarian is a public duty; to
serve Zimbabwe and not to have Zimbabwe serve you.You will be terribly
disappointed if you think that you will get rich by simply getting into
parliament.We should endeavour to be enterprising and thus,ensure that we
have some decent and honest sources of income other than the US$100
allowance that we are getting from parliament every month.For those of my
collegues who saw wisdom in grabbing motor vehicles that were recently doled
out to them by the Reserve Bank,I humbly urge them to interrogate their
consciences and ascertain whether they did the right thing for themselves
and for the institution of parliament.Whilst there is absolutely nothing
wrong with legislators being allocated vehicles,I am strongly of the view
that proper procedures ought and must be followed if we are to maintain and
uphold the dignity of the institution of parliament.Comrades,greed will
never take us anywhere.

As a parting shot,I wish to reiterate that a weak and compromised parliament
is the anti-thesis of democracy.

By Senator Obert Gutu

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Bill Watch Special of 2nd June 2009 [Call for Applicants for Constitutional Commissions This Week]


[2nd June 2009]

Nominations for Independent Constitutional Commissions

Applications to be Invited this Week


Four Independent Commissions are now provided for in the Constitution –

†† The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

†† The Zimbabwe Media Commission

†† The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission

†† The Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission.

Appointments to these commissions are made by the President from nominations put forward by Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]. †[For more details on the commissions and the relevant constitutional provisions, and the number of nominees to go forward to the President, see Bill Watch Specials of 11th April, 20th April and 9th May 2009.]

The CSRO set up a Legal and Procedures sub-committee comprising Paul Mangwana [ZANU-PF], Eric Matinenga [MDC-T], Patrick Chinamasa [ZANU-PF] and Welshman Ncube [MDC-T] and chaired by Tongai Matutu [MDC-T] to recommend how nominees were going to be selected.† They put forward their proposed methodology to the CSRO the week before last and the CSRO made a decision yesterday to adopt it.

Time Frame

The committee’s aim is to submit the nominations to the President by the end of June.†

Method of Selection of Nominees

†† This week – advertisements will be placed in the media

†† Two weeks will be allowed for applications to be submitted [details and deadline will be in the advertisements]

†† One week will be set aside for the committee to shortlist and hold interviews of shortlisted candidates†

†† Interviews will be carried out by a panel of members of the CSRO but other members would be present

†† These interviews will be open for the public and the press to attend as observers

†† Last week in June – the lists of nominees will be forwarded to the President.† [Note: there was no decision to make public the lists of nominees forwarded to the President, but the chairman Hon Matutu said it was a good idea and would make the process more transparent and he would put it to his committee.]

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem: Passing of a hero

Tuesday 02 June 2009

Tajudeen Abdul Raheem: the passing of a hero

Renowned pan-Africanist Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem who died in a car crash in the
Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on May 25 led Justice Africa's work with the
African Union since its early days.

Abdul-Raheem, a Nigerian, combined his work with Justice Africa with his
role as General Secretary of the Pan-African Movement, chairperson of the
Centre for Democracy and Development, the Pan-African Development Education
and Advocacy Programme, and was a fighter in the struggle to get the UN's
Millennium Development Campaign to support meaningful programmes.

There was hardly a pan African initiative that took place without Tajudeen's
inimitable presence, support, humour and perceptive political perspectives.
Quite how he managed to combine all of this with writing his weekly 'Pan
African Postcard' that were published regularly in Pambazuka News and in
several newspapers including The Monitor (Uganda), Weekly Trust (Nigeria),
The African (Tanzania), Nairobi Star (Kenya) and the Herald (Zimbabwe), has
always been a mystery to us.

You could always rely on Tajudeen to draw our attention to the most
significant aspects of the latest political event in Africa - just as you
could rely on him to provide guidance and encouragement during hard times,
restoring in us the courage for the longer struggles ahead for emancipation
of the continent.

Tajudeen's departure leaves a massive hole in the lives of Africa and
Africans. We all need to grieve the loss of this giant of a man. But if his
life is to mean anything, we must follow his call in the signature line of
his every email - 'Don't agonise, Organise!'

Below we reproduce the last Pan African Postcard Tajudeen penned before his
untimely death.

Tajudeen's last Pan African Postcard

The irony of Africa being a very rich continent but Africans being some of
the poorest peoples in the world is no longer lost on anyone. While we can
argue about the historical, structural, attitudinal, personal and
institutional causes of this state of affairs the fact remains that majority
of our peoples remain in need amidst plenty.

Decades of aid, humanitarian intervention, prayers, activism, development
plans, action plans, government declarations and so many other initiatives
have not produced fundamental change for the poorest and weakest sections of
our societies.

Yet Africans remain one of the most optimistic peoples, perpetually
believing that ' tomorrow go better' (ie, tomorrow will be better, as they
say in Nigeria).

The hope may be dependent on a few Chinese or Indian made wares hanging on
the neck of the street hawker or a tray of fruits dexteriously carried by an
underage girl rushing for vehicles on the streets of Accra or few sachets of
allegedly 'Pure water' on the streets of Lagos or Obama paraphernalia in
Nairobi. ??

It is always a miracle how majority of the poor whether in our urban slums
or impoverished rural areas survive.

Shops on legs

Our cities' overburdened road infrastructures have spurned entrepreneurship
in the form of shops on legs meandering between armies of pedestrians and
impatient vehicle drivers frustrated at the gridlock traffic. Similarly
informal settlements have developed, several times the size of our capital
cities with little or no infrastructures.

Some of them like Kibera (in Kenya) are even becoming 'famous' globally for
poverty tourism. Unfortunately it is not the impoverished peoples in these
settlements who are even the beneficiaries of their own poverty.?The
Majority of Africans continue to survive not because of government but in
spite of governments.

They eke out a living to keep body and soul together, provide for their
families, doing all kinds of dirty work with little pay or selling anything
that is buyable hawking all kinds of household wares, fruits, vegetables and
myriad of consumer items.?

The concept of informal settlements in Africa is not just about where people
live but extends to informal markets in all kinds of goods and services:
road side mechanics, vulcanisers, local industrialists who fabricate or copy
anything from car parts to miniature planes! If the truth be told what is
called informal sector is indeed the real enterprising economy of Africa
delivering goods and services as and when needed.

Mama mboga

As the son of a hardworking woman who was a 'petty trader' I confess to a
bias in favour of these small entrepreneurs who do not depend on any
connections with government officials, politicians and big
business/corporate sharks. You go to many neighbourhoods rich or poor you
will find these largely women, entrepreneurs, selling food to those working
on construction sites, cheap vegetables to other poor members of the society
from their baskets, trays or single tables at the corners of roads and

So Living in Kenya, a settler apartheid type state in all but name I find
myself in solidarity with 'Mama mboga'. These are women who sell vegetables
from their trays, or traditional load carriers tied to their heads, carried
on their backs.?

From Mama Mboga selling daily perishable vegetables the ambition of many of
them is to own a kiosk where they can have storage for more goods, stock
more items, install a fridge and freezer that can preserve perishable items.

When Mama Mboga becomes a Kiosk owner it is a personal triumph of hope over
adversity, a long journey from grinding poverty to bearable survival and
foundations for permanent exit from poverty. The bigger the kiosk and the
better stocked it is the farther away the owner is from poverty.??

Government policy is threatening the survival of the Mama Mbogas across this
continent. In the name of ridding cities of illegal constructions, returning
to the original city plans and 'beautifying' our cities City councils and
governments at all levels are creating more poverty running lifelong savings
accumulated through extreme sacrifice and hardwork.

Beautiful city

Of what use is a 'beautiful city' peopled by citizens who have lost their
livelihoods? Would they appreciate the beauty???

The Mama Mbogas are on the street and in kiosks because they cannot afford
the malls and most of their clientele cannot afford the price in the malls.?

Our elite are embarrassed by the mass poverty that surrounds us but they are
unwilling to provide leadership and appropriate policies to take our peoples
to prosperity. They think they can lock it away from polite society.

They engage in avoidance and denial mechanisms to pretend to visitors that
'everything is ok'. That's why they rid our capitals of beggars, hawkers,
and other 'undesirables' before any major 'international' conference but out
of sight is not out of mind for the Mama and Baba Mbogas in our midst.

You can pull down their kiosks and destroy their tables but they will come
back with new tables, under umbrellas and their clientele will know where to
find them. By no means are their clients all wretched of the earth. I still
call my favourite mama Mboga, Mama Sarah, or her husband, Martin, to send me
top up cards from wherever Nairobi City Council have forced them to.

But this couple like me driven back to the streets by government policy have
had their hopes and dreams shattered by a government with a tunnel vision of
development that only looks at the welfare of the minority rich and powerful
at the expense of the impoverished and powerless underclass.

While the elite engages in power struggles the citizens are only concerned
about Livelihood struggles. Any society that threatens the livelihood of its
own citizens risk permanent threat to its own survival and security. The
Tribute (with a little alterations) and the Postcard were first published by
Pambazuka News ( -- ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe loses art pioneer

By Aviv Gruer

In the early hours of Sunday morning the acclaimed Shona artist, Colleen Madamombe, died in her sleep.She was born in 1964 and was an established figure among second generation Zimbabwean stone sculptors. She joined the BAT workshops in 1985 but left to marry fellow Zimbabwean artist Fabian Madamombe. In 1987 she joined Chapungu Sculpture Park in Harare. While at Chapungu she was greatly influenced by the best known female artist at the time, Agnes Nyanhongo. Colleen and Agnes were very isolated figures in an almost completely male dominated profession. However, they both surged to international stardom. Colleen used art as a basis to promote Zimbabwean women as a whole. As she said “A lot of women are artists and they don’t even realise it”. She aimed to give women a voice through her art. As her art progressed, the promotion of the special qualities of Shona women became her sole subject matter, while her ‘fat mamas’ have become synonymous with her name and are the distinguishing feature that sets her work apart in the art world.

Colleen has been awarded best female artist in Zimbabwe three times and has extensively toured the world, especially Europe and America, giving talks and exhibiting her work. Unfortunately the same social issues which Colleen fought to bring to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness, eventually led to her demise as a divorce, dysfunctional family and alcoholism, coupled with the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe eventually took their toll on Colleen.

Art has been one of the only enduring ‘industries’ in Zimbabwe. The incredible artistic talents of the Zimbabwean people are probably the country’s biggest asset as the international appeal of Zimbabwean art generates an income and gives a voice to thousands of Zimbabweans, even in the current meltdown, and with virtually no tourists visiting Zimbabwe.

Colleens work will surely live on through the skills she passed down to her children and numerous students .

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